Saturday, March 17, 2012

Do You Have A "Why-ner" In Your Life?

Circle-no-questionsImage via Wikipedia

Do you have a “why” kid in your life? I’m not talking about the much dreaded “why”-ner whose questions often include, "Do I have to make my bed, eat my vegetables or do my homework?"  I'm not talking about the "How much longer until naptime is over?" or "Are we there yet?" questions that cycle through our lives over and over.  I’m talking about that relentless kid who consistently questions the world around them which of course includes our parenting or teaching ideas, methods, guidelines, and expectations by simply asking the relevant question, “Why?” How is this courageous child perceived? Does annoying or perhaps a nuisance come to mind? A better question may be, how do you as parent or educator treat this change maker?  Can you celebrate their inquisitive nature?

One of my daughters had this questioning gift and I can certainly relate to the impatience that we as adults can have with the endless questions.  Since she often asked questions that were so far out and nonsensical in nature, it was easy as a parent to write them off.  I admit, I often responded with impatience to the constant questioning.  Sometimes I just made up stuff just to move on to what seemed more important at the time.  Luckily I don't think this had any lasting psychological impact although my daughter does tend to tell people that I lied a lot to her about things when she was little.  I prefer to think of it as simply making life more interesting....It's all in how you frame it you know.

As adults,we usually ask a lot of questions when we are presented with something new or when we don't know how to do something. What happens when we figure it out, when things become routine and predictable?  The questions stop and that's where we can get in a rut with our own thinking.   If we think about it, learning something new is pretty much a daily event for children.  As parents and educators, it’s time we move beyond tolerating the “why” kid. We must celebrate their inquisitive curious inventive nature. We must not only to validate their need to know but take it as a challenge to  reflect on our own tendency to  be content with the status quo, the mundane, the routine. It is easy to develop a superficial understanding rather than the deep understanding we thought we had.  This is the advantage of following the lead of these inquisitive children.  Avoiding their questions can prevent us from learning and growing ourselves.  Celebrating their inquisitive nature can encourage growth and change, not only for our children, but for ourselves. 

Do you have a child in your life who asks "why?"  Do you?


  1. I was the kid who asked why about everything, and I never stopped, though my questions have grown in sophistication and I no longer ask anyone in my family :D

    I'd be honored (and yes, annoyed) if I ever have a child so inquisitive.

  2. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Yes, I do find it very annoying. it gives me something to improve. Thank you. :)

  3. @J.R.--It is a mixed blessing isn't it? Curious, inquisitive children are usually quite intelligent as well. Bet that describes you doesn't it?

    @Sea Green Natural--It is an area I'm constantly trying to develop myself, patience that is :0

  4. Both of my kids are full of "whys" and I love it! If I can't answer their question fully we take complete advantage of google. I love learning new things alongside them! Their questions can end up being the greatest teachers to all of us!

  5. @Jessica--you have a great attitude! I also have to say, I wish Goggle was around when my kids were little.

  6. This was a very beautiful reflection, Lynne! It's amazing how we can learn so much about life from kids. :-)

  7. @Irene - You are right about learning from kids! That's why I love working with kids! It's always something new.